Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Like #15

Another week where I didn't remember to take very many pictures, but lots of things to like this week.

1.  I like having a clean house!  I don't like cleaning my house, but I love when it's clean.  That feeling of plopping down on the couch or into the shower after several hours of cleaning and having everything neat with fresh sheets is wonderful.  I was, of course, only motivated to do this because I have company coming this weekend (yay family), but whatever works!

2. I love seeing animals and life around my house.  My frog is back, he lives in our backyard/porch throughout the late spring and summer.  I pretend he's the same frog from last year, but that seems really unlikely.  He likes to sit on the back porch, and I have to be careful not to step on him as I come out of the studio at night.  Yesterday I accidentally almost mowed over him (I couldn't see him in the tall grass), but he escaped ok, and I hope he comes back.  We also have lots of bunnies in our neighborhood, but they don't come in my backyard and I usually see them early in the morning.  I saw this really cool bug on my studio door the other day, I really tried to get a good picture, its wings were completely transparent except for green veins, he looked half plant!  I never did get a good shot though.

3. I love my dogs!  This goes without saying but sometimes you have to just say it!  I made a large Amy Butler pouf a few years ago and they love sitting on it.  When Missy is here she usually gets it, although sometimes Bentley will get it first.  If Missy isn't there (like now, she's traveling with Mike), it's Bentley all the way.  Poor Bullett never gets the pouf.  But the other day I caught this series of pictures and the whole situation made me giggle.  Of course as soon as I sat down Bentley wanted in my lap (the only thing that could make him give up the pouf).  Never mind that he's way too big, or that the chair is too small for us both.  But as soon as he was all the way in my lap, Bullett immediately jumped onto the pouf.  Smart boy, he doesn't miss his chance!

4.   I also am still liking my weekly blooming flowers.  Thanks to everyone last week who chimed in to identify my peace lily, it's gratifying to know what it is.  No flower pictures this week, but I did realize my pink Christmas cactus is blooming again!  In April! So cool, it has lots of bright pink blossoms on its window side.

Thanks as always to LeeAnna!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I like #14

Hi guys!  Another week behind us.  For me it was busy as always but definitely had good stuff.  So off we go!

1. I like Easter and Holy week.  It's always a busy time in our church, particularly for choristers and ministers, but I love the transition from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and then the Easter Vigil service (best of the year) on Easter Eve and finally Easter Morning.  I love the fact that our choir sings at two services on Easter morning, but a lot of my favorite music of the year is Easter music and I love getting to sing it twice, even if I'm exhausted by it.  Here's a audio recording of our choir anthem from Easter morning.  I know last week some people couldn't play the sound recording I shared- I have no idea why not and haven't been able to look into alternatives yet, so bear with me for now please, and if you can't play it, please leave me a comment (and perhaps include what browser you're using if you like).

2.  I like friends!  I have a few really good friends who I couldn't live without, but I rarely make new friends.  This week though I was invited to eat Easter dinner with some people from church and it turned out to be really fun.  We grilled lamb and drank bloody marys and in spite of it being a broad range of age groups there was much talk of harry potter and star wars and other things that make me happy.  I didn't take any Easter pictures at all (sad!) so i'll just share the pie I took with me.  Of course it was pie, because you all know that with a freezer full of fruit that's what I always take anywhere.

3. Flowers this week!  Everything around here is in full bloom, but I'm not growing anything outside except my iris from last week, and I didn't even remember to take any pictures.  Our church is especially lovely with all kinds of flowers out.  I did pick up some tulips at the store which brightened up my living room, and even though I don't grow much outside, my inside plants are trucking along and my lily thing (it's kind of like a calla lily but I don't think it actually is- if anyone knows what it is, please feel free to share) is blooming again.  Love! Last time I watered it, I also noticed that it had had a baby, and now there are two of them in the pot.  I guess I should split them at some point.

4. I like blogging and sewing!  (Duh!)  This makes the list this week because I've finally been able to get back to those two things.  I've started writing a few blog posts about my projects which hasn't happened in a while, so stay tuned if you're interested in those, and I've also had a little time in my sewing room to work on my quilts.  Yay!

I hope you're having a great week and thanks as always to LeeAnna for keeping us going!

Monday, April 17, 2017

SAQA Auction Donation

It's time once again to make my annual SAQA Auction donation quilt.  SAQA artists from all over make 12" x 12" quilts to donate and it winds up being a great fundraiser.  The auction isn't till later in the year, but I recently sent my quilt in for this year.  You can see previous auction quilts of mine here (2016201520142013) I started this one while I was at asilomar.  I painted a large piece of fabric for sky then cut up a bunch of big diamonds to make a mosaic (kind of like this one).  Belatedly though, I realized that the project I wanted them for didn't really call for a mosaic sky.  So I cut all the diamonds into 4ths, and made this small mini quilt.  It was tricky because I didn't get the diamonds all lined up exactly right so the quilting is a bit messy, but I think the overall effect is ok.  It's called North Wind on the Plains.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Like #13

Hi Everybody!  Once again another week has gone by where I haven't been able to get any other blog posts up, but I'm determined to get this one up.  I have so many back projects to blog about I don't even know where to start.

1. The first thing I'm liking today is being done with my professional school teaching for the year.  I love teaching, but most of my teaching is with graduate students, and is very different from teaching professional students (med students/PA students/dental students etc.).  This is the first year I've done that and it took a ton of time and energy, and in the end I didn't even give the information "they" wanted.  Yesterday I was really frustrated by that, but now it's over and I know how to improve my lectures for next year!!

2. I'm also excited because it's Holy Week (the week before Easter).  That means we're in church a lot, but I find it to be a very moving time of the year for me.  Yesterday I was so aggravated about the lectures but as soon as I got to choir rehearsal, practicing our Easter music just lifted my spirits!

3. I like spirituals!  I'm Episcopalian, so our music (which I adore) takes the form of more traditional hymns and choral music, but last weekend on Palm Sunday our church hosted the 48th annual festival of spirituals which is run by Cimarron Opera.  It featured spirituals sung by a large variety of outstanding soloists and small groups, but our choir also sung two pieces.  The last one (which wrapped up the conference) was a joint effort between our choir and a choir from Northern Oklahoma College.  It was very different to the kind of music we usually sing, but we had so much fun.  You could just feel the energy, and again lifted my spirits.  I made an audio recording (no video) of it for you with my phone.

4. I like flowers!  I hope you're not getting tired of this one.  By summer there probably won't be any left, but this time of year is perfect for flowers.  I've never noticed how many are around until this year, and I think that's part of the point of this exercise!  This week, there's an iris blooming in my front yard!  I'm terrible at outdoor flowers, I don't weed and I can't remember to water them, but a few years ago I planted a few iris that someone randomly gave me.  Most of them died, or got overtaken by our grass, or mown over, but one survived and it's blooming.  This is so awesome you guys, it makes me so happy to see the lovely purple in my yard.

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it, I hope you find Joy in the season.  Thanks always to LeeAnna!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I like #12

Another week with lots of things to like!

1. I like camping!  Last weekend my parents came through Texas in their fifth wheel on their way to California, and my sister's family and I met them at Lake Ray Roberts State Park.  It's partway between Becky and I and turned out to be a lovely state park to camp at!  The campground was nice with lots of trees, a beach very close, and nice large spaces.  We made a campfire and roasted marshmallows with my niece and nephew and sang girl scout camp songs.  We even made a campfire the next morning and tried to roast biscuits, but that was a bit less successful.  I took Bentley and Bullett with me, and even though they look forlorn in this pic, they had a fun time getting to hang out with everyone and were great campers.

2.  I like boats and water!  I don't like sand and beaches, but I love boats and water and oceans.  I'm currently a bit sad because my sailboat friend might need rotator cuff surgery and so we might not be able to race this summer, but last weekend we got to rent kayaks and go kayaking while camping!  It was fun, my mom and I took one with my niece Anna, and my sister and her husband took one with my nephew Alex.  Mom and I were terrible at steering but we laughed a lot!

3. I like live music!  Mike is currently in New Mexico while my parents are traveling, but he texted me the other night to say that one of our friends, Camille Harp, a local singer/songwriter was playing at a small bar/restaurant just a mile or so from our house.  I was so excited because it was an early, non-smoking show so I got to go and hear her.  Here's a short video I shot, but definitely check out her music; she's great.  I worked on my crochet while I was there and made lots of progress.


4. I like electronic door locks!  This is one of those you-don't-know-how-much-you-like-it-till-it's-gone things.  Our main entry door (between the garage and the house) has had a wonderful electronic door lock on it forever.  It died a natural death last week, and since then I've managed to lock myself out of the house 3 times! Luckily (I guess) one of our windows has a broken lock so I've been able to climb in, but I'm super super excited that the new lock arrived yesterday so I can install it tonight!

5.  As always, I like flowers.  Two weeks ago my crabapple tree was blooming, and this week my apple tree is blooming.  So pretty!  We've had rain lately, so right now everything outside is happy.

I hope you're liking things this week!  Thanks as always to LeeAnna for keeping us going!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Like #11

Missed last week because I was traveling, but it was good reinvigorating traveling to Empty Spools in Asilomar California.  Asilomar is one of my very favorite places anywhere and going there with my mom is so special.  I've been overwhelmed since I got back, so I'll leave you with a very short I like!

I like: Sunrises, going east out of King City California, in the cool early morning air, headed to Pinnacles National Park.

I like hiking:  Gorgeous early morning hike at Pinnacles, all alone (my mom's foot is broken) without any other people.  The solitude and beauty of this hike were wonderful.  And it went through a bunch of caves!!!

I like: Asilomar.  In spite of being right on the packed monterey coast, it feels isolated and beautiful.  The experience of being there is like camp, but for grownups with real beds and wine.  I don't like sandy beaches but I love tide pools (anemone!), and there is the best path through the dunes along the beach there.  Love.

Thanks LeeAnna!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Like #10

I'm going crazy at work right now, but tomorrow afternoon I'm leaving for a quilting trip to California with my mom, so that'll be filled with wonderful things to like.

So an abbreviated list of Likes this week:

I like being productive at work.  I don't always love my job, but it is really gratifying when I feel productive.

I like Circque du Soleil.  I was down visiting my sister this weekend and we had tickets to see it (the Kurios show).  I'd never seen it before and it was awesome.  So much fabulousness!

I like listening to my niece read.  She just turned five and is a great reader already.  My sister has been working with her for about a year and a half and she's at the point now where she can read you a story book with an actual story in it (simple ones still obviously), but I'm so proud of her!

I like quilt shows!  The main reason I was down in Dallas was for the Dallas Quilt Show.  It's always fun, a big show with really great quilts.  Here are three of my favorites.  The first two are by Karen Stone who also had a special exhibit of her quilts at the show, and the last one is by Tonya Littman.

And of course flowers!  We didn't get the winter storm many of you did and my crab apple tree has started to bloom.  Happy spring is coming!

Thanks as always to LeeAnna!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Felting disaster

Another file of unshared folders I found while sorting last week was the one holding pictures of my recent foray into felting.  A couple years ago my mom won a needle felting machine in some sort of contest and she and I decided we ought to finally give it a try.

Mom made this little piece for a show challenge.  I can't remember what the challenge fabric was, but it's in there somewhere.  The central panel is a silk painting my deceased grandmother made, and my mom used felting to extend it out.  It didn't turn out to be a particularly strong piece, but it's nice.

Mine on the other hand was a spectacular disaster.  I started with some abstract lines, a large piece of brown felt, and the color scheme of gold/brown/fuschia (probably not an easy choice).  After that I pulled out my scraps and started felting away.  Lots of silk and polyester fashion fabrics as well as organzas.  Here are a couple of in progress shots.

And here it is "finished".  My original idea was to square it up, quilt it, and behold, an abstract quilt.  Alas! After finishing the felting, I hung it up and then burst out laughing.  I turned it over to see if that helped (nope).  I therefore promptly rolled it up and stuck it in a drawer.  I can't exactly pinpoint what's wrong; I think there are too many things to count- the composition, the colors, the awful pink clown smile, all of it.  Oh well, at least it was fun figuring out what kinds of things felted well and what didn't.  It took an annoyingly long time though.

I actually think it's a prime candidate for cutting up and incorporating into something else.  Some of the smaller sections are a bit more interesting to my eye, so maybe in future I'll do something with it.  In the meantime my lessons are that a bit more planning is needed, and that I don't forsee this approach taking over my fiber practice.  Oh well, live and learn!

Not sure these funny round things are salvageable, but I like the section to the left.

Linking up with the art ladies over at Nina-Marie's this week!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mammals of Oklahoma

I spent most of the month of January working on a new art quilt for an entry that was due the end of the month.  After much scurrying I "finished" enough of it (i.e. faced and turned) to take pictures for the entry.  Just recently I finally actually finished it, with the facing, pocket, and label hand stitched on.  Those last steps sometimes just feel like they take forever!

This project was for a call for textile posters, and asked artists to consider all of the uses to which posters have been put over the years.  I had originally thought to do something medieval to fit in with my illuminated manuscripts series, something along the lines of hear ye hear ye.... but nothing really sparked my interest.  As I thought about it, what kept popping into my mind were natural history posters.  You know the ones with the beautiful botanical/scientific illustrations depicting a bunch of different types of insects, or insects, or shells, or mushrooms, or even dragon eggs.

I'm not an illustrator or painter in this style at all, but I decided to reinterpret this idea using a sort of graphic design approach kind of like what I've done in the past.  I decided to re-work the design I'd used for my quilt Ring Around the Mole.  In my brain this has always been called Mammals of Oklahoma, and I'd always wanted to do something else with the design that could incorporate more of the background information.  A poster seemed like the perfect opportunity.  It took quite a bit of refinement and editing on my original digital file, but I wound up with this.  I do my designing in Adobe Illustrator which is ideally suited to this kind of thing, but it's fairly involved.

I had spoonflower print it on microsuede so that there would be some visual interest.  It's free motion quilted with 100 weight silk thread, similar to the original and with a double batting so that the animals might puff up a little bit.  I wasn't sure how the microsuede would quilt, but it turned out fine.  Very smooth actually and much easier than much of my work that is made out of really weird fabrics held together with lots of layers of fusible.

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017, detail

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017, detail

Mammals of Oklahoma, 32" x 48" c. Shannon Conley, 2017, detail

As I final step, I beaded all of their eyes, which adds just a bit of sparkle and dimension.  I'm pleased with the way this turned out, although in my mind it feels flat compared to the original quilt which used fabric.  The print quality was very good, but I think in future I might incorporate digital prints into things with more other types of fabric as well.

Linking up as always with Nina-Marie and Happy Friday to everyone!  Also linking up this week with Free Motion Mavericks.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Like #9

Tomorrow marks the start of a busy period of traveling for me, this weekend I'm headed to Dallas for the Dallas Quilt Festival and a weekend with my sister and her family, so that's likely to generate some likeable things!

Here are some of the things I like this week!

I like sushi!  I've been a big fan of sushi for a long time, and although Mike is typically not an adventurous eater  (which is a euphemism if I ever heard one) he does like sushi.  One of the places we go the most often is Sushi Hayashi- it's just a small place in a strip mall, but they have tasty sushi and it's always quiet and not as loud or chaotic as some of the trendier places.  Yum!

I like baking!  I used to bake a ton, but of course then I just eat everything, but this week I'd signed up to take cookies to church and told my friends I would take cookies to a trivia night fundraiser, so I made some gingersnaps.  Along the way I decided to "formalize" my cookie baking intensity taxonomy, because, well why not.  I decided that Level 1 cookies are all-in-one-go things, stratified into Level 1A, which is drop cookies like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and Level 1B which are slightly more complicated things that are still all-in-one-go like lemon bars.  Level 2 cookies are things that require more time and/or advanced planning because they need to chill.  Snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, raspberry thumbprints, etc.  And Level 3 cookies are those things that are such an investment that I usually only do them when I have people over and it's a scheduled activity, things like sugar cookies or gingerbread men that require dough-chill-roll-cut-bake-frost.  I explained this "very important" stratification to my sister, who laughed, so I guess it served its purpose!

Trivia night was fun, I'd never been to anything like that before.  It was a fundraiser for special olympics, and I shared a table with a couple friends of mine and their friends.  In most of the categories I did really terrible and was no help at all, sports, sports stars turned tv stars, ad jingles (but not the easy ones), TV theme songs, etc.  I did get all the questions right in the "Cities" category, and I was the only person at the table who knew the answer to the one Harry Potter question of the night so I guess that was good.  Sadly the catgories I'd have done well in (science, art, literature) did not come up.  Fun evening though!

I love my dogs!  Obviously you all know this already, but Mike just got a new camera and took a few pictures.  Bentley and Bullett are not in the least interested in the new camera, but they're adorable all the same.  Bullett looks a little out of it here-mostly I think he's irritated that no one was giving him a treat.

In the weekly I like flowers part of the segment, I'm sorry to report that my begonia isn't doing to well.  I think it might be cold, but I'm really not sure.  On a more positive note, my work geranium is blooming, which is fabulous!